Interior Health to resume elective surgeries May 19 - InfoNews

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Interior Health to resume elective surgeries May 19

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
May 13, 2020 - 10:23 AM

Interior Health will start the process to reschedule the 3,000 elective surgeries that were postponed due to COVID-19, as the province enters phase 2 of its pandemic plan.

As of Tuesday, May 12, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said only two people with COVID-19 were in the hospital throughout the Interior Health region and that the capacity to resume elective surgeries was there. The aim is to have systems fully ready to go by mid June and today May 13, IH CEO Susan Brown said calls have already started to get patients back in the operating room. 

To meet needs, Brown said activity around the hospital is ramping up.

"That may include the expansion of hours at some sites which we know we will need to recruit staff to do," she said, adding she didn't have an exact number but the requirement would be for all positions involved in the operating room procedures.

"If it's for inpatient surgery that may have an impact on inpatient resources like beds for recovery etcetera, so it's quite a complex plan that we need to put together. We're well on our way to doing that. We're looking to maximize where we know we've got capacity that we could do a little bit more right now."

They are also looking to maximize day surgery capacity.

"It's a complex piece of work to make sure we're maximizing our resources to the best we can," she said.

Brown was unable to say how upcoming surgeries will be distributed throughout the region's hospitals, but Kelowna and Vernon are hubs. Surgeries will be booked based on priority, while urgent, emergent and oncology-related surgeries were not impacted by the pause and will continue as priority cases. 

Brown said that the number of surgeries at IH hospitals was probably 50 per cent of normal since the pandemic changed procedures.

IH recognizes that some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery at this time. Those who choose not to proceed with their surgeries immediately will hold their spot on the waitlist.

To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for patients, staff and physicians, a number of measures will be implemented as part of the surgical process:

  • When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference or telephone prior to surgery.
  • Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used.
  • Patients will be assessed 24-72 hours prior to surgery and upon arrival the day of surgery.
  • Surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and infection control measures.

Interior Health will assess opportunities to expand capacity over the coming months to ensure individuals who need surgery get it as quickly as possible. This plan is dependent on factors such as adequate supply of personal protective equipment, full commitment of all partners, and monitoring of a possible resurgence of COVID-19.

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